A sad day for common sense? Or a great racial wrong finally corrected? The debate will be long as news comes that Hank Azaria has retired as the voice of Apu on The Simpsons.
On a panel for the IFC series Brockmire this was confirmed by Azaria himself.
Azaria has voiced the character of Kwik-E-Mart proprietor Apu Nahasapeemapetilon since the very first season all the way back in 1990. In recent years the character and show have been criticised with the claim that of Apu being a caricature that plays on too many negative stereotypes.
Hary Kondabolu’s documentary The Problem with Apu landed in 2017 and brought a lot of focus to the debate in international press. When the creators of the show dismissed the critics then outrage culture latched on and things snowballed.
Contacted about his comments by Slashfilm, he says this was a mutual decision.
“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something… What they’re going to do with the character is their call. It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore. We all made the decision together. We all agreed on it. We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”
It is not known if an Indian actor will take over or if the character will be written out altogether.